The most challenging part of beta testing is getting selected. Once you’ve been chosen as a tester, a beta test manager will reach out to you with details for the test, like a description of the beta product, the duration of the test, and an outline of your responsibilities as a tester.
Our private Betabound Exclusives typically last two to three weeks. During this period, testers are expected to use the beta product regularly, submit weekly journal entries, complete assigned surveys and tasks, and periodically participate in that test’s discussion forums. By managing your time, you can ensure you thoroughly test a beta product and submit all your feedback, without having to devote a large block of time toward the close of the project playing catch up. Our beta managers break these assignments up for you on a weekly basis, but here are some tips on how you can integrate your beta participation into your day-to-day.
Morning (~5-10 min)
Rise and shine, Betabounder! With your coffee in hand, log into your tester account to check in on the project you’re participating in. Overnight, fellow testers may have commented on your discussion or feature request posts, or the beta manager may have posted a new announcement. This is a good opportunity to spend a few minutes collaborating with testers through the project’s discussion forums, or reviewing the week’s tasks list.
Midday (~20+ minutes)
Use the beta product throughout the day. The purpose of beta testing is to gather real feedback from real people, so use the product as you normally would. Many testers have shared stories about testing a beta product during their work’s lunch hour, daily commute, child’s naptime, afternoon coffee break, trip to the gym — you name it! Obviously, these use cases depend on what the beta product actually is. It’s important to do your best to use the product regularly. It’s also a good idea to jot down any comments, concerns, or bugs you encounter throughout the day. These notes will come in handy when writing your journal entries in the evening.
The middle of the day is also a good time to check for any emails from your project’s beta manager. The beta manager may email you regarding updates to the beta product, reported bugs that need help replicating, or required tasks or surveys that need to be completed. Take a look at these emails and flag them in your inbox for further review in the evening.
Evening (~30 minutes)
In our experience, the evening is when testers are most active. This is when most testers are home from work, have the kids in bed, or simply have a spare moment to share a bunch of feedback. The evening is also a great time for submitting your journal entries. In most cases, you’ll be expected to submit one journal entry per week. However, we always encourage testers to go above and beyond the minimum! We recommend journals be anywhere from one to three paragraphs describing your likes or dislikes of a beta product, as well as any other thoughts or emotions regarding it (this is where those midday notes come in handy). Also, don’t forget to edit your entry before clicking submit!
Once you’ve submitted your journal entry, take a few minutes to explore the project. Check for any updates from the beta manager (either in the project or the emails you flagged), respond to comments on your posts, create new discussion posts (careful to avoid any duplicate topics), and comment on other testers’ threads. If there are any time-sensitive tasks or surveys that need to be taken, then work on completing those. These tasks typically take five to 15 minutes to complete, so plan accordingly.
Your evening unwind is also a good opportunity to look ahead. Check your schedule for tomorrow, or look at the upcoming week as a whole. Do you have guests coming in town, a planned weekend trip, or an especially busy week at work that you need to account for? Review the schedule of the project you’re testing for so you aren’t caught off guard by any close-of-test tasks, surveys, etc. This is a great way to gauge how far along in the test you are, so you can plan for the week ahead, and ensure you can continue dedicating a consistent amount of testing time to provide quality feedback.
If you’re on top of things, then volunteering your time as a tester will be a breeze. As a tester, you’ll have the opportunity to meet product developers and collaborate with other like-minded testers to help shape an emerging tech product with your honest feedback.
These were just some of our tips on how you can structure your day as a tester, but you may have some ideas of your own! If you have any advice for other testers, or if you have any questions or concerns about integrating a beta test into your life, we’d love to hear from you. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.